Mexico – El Diablo

Ancient Civilizations

While this may take on the look of a history class, we’ll try to liven things up with human sacrifices, monuments to the gods, the seven wonders of the world, and mystical mythology. All in a day’s work around the Sip Advisor offices! At recess we can even enjoy some tacos, burritos and enchiladas. So, take your Pepto or Tums, it’s time to get a little freaky with the various cultures that make up Mexico’s history:

Olmecs

These fine people worshipped a god that was half human and half jaguar. It had no name, so I’ve supplied my own: the humuar! You laugh now, but just wait and I bet those thieves writing modern Scooby Doo episodes will eventually steal this title. The Olmecs (now best known for the Olmeca Tequila brand… although I have no verification of this!) developed large parts of the eastern coast of Mexico and can be credited with sculpting the famed Colossal Heads.

The Olmecs have more origin stories than some comic book characters, including tales told in popular culture that they originated from Africa. Most researchers don’t find these accounts to be very credible, but the same could be said for many super heroes. The concept of zero is said to have been developed by the Olmecs, meaning we have them to blame every time we run out of money, food, lives, etc. Before this civilization came along, everything was infinite and unlimited and they went ahead and ruined all our fun in the name of mathematical accuracy.

90's Game Shows

Most importantly, Olmec culture was used for the 90’s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple!

Aztecs

Usually nomadic, the Aztecs settled in Mexico after spotting an eagle standing on a cactus, clutching a snake in its talons. The image represents the sun, the heart, and the earth, respectively and is now depicted on the country’s flag. Like the Olmecs before them, the Aztecs were big into human sacrifices, believing that without blood, the sun would stop moving and the world would come to an end. During a sacrifice ceremony, the heart of the victim (although they’d have you believe there were volunteers) would be cut out and burned in the temple. The heart was known as “precious eagle cactus fruit,” which should be released as a liquor flavour.

The Aztecs were a bloodthirsty civilization, sacrificing anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people per year. Ruler Montezuma II even killed 12,000 of his own people in one day. Not content to just enjoy sacrifices as entertainment, the Aztecs played a ball game called tlachtli… although the losers were often killed off to appease the gods. Thankfully, this isn’t the same result after the Sip Advisor’s soccer matches (winless in 2014).

Mayans

The Mayans also played a ball game known as pitz, which is speculated to have featured decapitations, with those separated heads possibly used as balls in the sport. When in battle, the Mayans were known to throw hornet bombs at their enemies, which was an actual hornet’s nest. This is how Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl actually died, but the movie covers the fact the Mayans were responsible. Hey, if they used decapitated heads for sport, is a hornet bomb really unimaginable!? The Mayans can be credited with building the Chichen Itza city, now considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

Mayans were perhaps one of the first image-conscious civilizations, but they went about it in all the wrong ways. They would press boards against babies’ foreheads to given them a desired flat surface and cross a young child’s eyes by dangling an object on the bridge of their nose until the desired effect was achieved. Children were named according to the day they were born with a set list for boys and girls that was expected to be followed. Lastly, although they’re always credited with predicting the end of the world in 2012, this is complete hokum (to borrow a line from Sheldon Cooper). The Mayan’s calendar system merely meant that a new cycle would begin on Dec. 20, 2012 and mention of other occurrences past that date do exist in Mayan accounts.

Incans

The Incas recorded their history using a string and knot system, known as Quipu. The Sip Advisor does the same when tying his shoelaces every morning, although those entries are lost every afternoon when the laces are untied and I’ve forgotten to once again jot down the activities of my day. The Incas were prominent users of the coca plant for everything from pain relief to surgeries, energy boosts to appetite suppression. Modern day pop drinkers and cokeheads can thank them for their discovery.

ancient-Incas-2012

The Incan flag depicts two snakes eating opposite ends of a rainbow with a tassel in the middle. I’d give my best interpretation of what this could mean, but I would surely offend a number of groups and therefore, I’ll leave it be. European diseases such as smallpox greatly destroyed the Incan civilization. The disease was able to spread so quickly because of the empire’s own triumphs, such as their highly-developed road system.

Zapotec

This civilization built cities in the south of Mexico and believed that they came into existence after emerging from caves or transforming into human form from being trees and jaguars. Were the tree people more likely to be vegetarians, while the former jaguars were meat eaters? Ah, the experiments one would conduct if they had a time machine!

The Zapotec also developed the first writing system in the Americas, so we have them to thank for this wonderfully-crafted site, but also them to blame for tripe like the Twilight series. While at war (is that all people ever did back in the day!?) the Zapotecs used a cotton form of armour. I have continued on this tradition, as when I enter battle with Mrs. Sip, I adorn myself with Q-tips, cotton balls, and surgical wrappings. It doesn’t help much, but it has provided many amazing selfie photos!

Toltec

The time of the Toltecs was looked at as a “golden era” thanks to developments in writing and medicine, among other advancements. Both the Mayans and Aztecs highly respected the Toltecs and fashioned themselves after the civilization in many regards. To have a ‘Toltec heart’ was a compliment of the highest respect as it carried the weight of being worthy and excellent at all things. This is a commendation that I have received throughout my life, but only now realize that folks weren’t hurling insults in my direction.

Mexico: El Diablo

El Diablo Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Blackberry Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

So much blood has been spilt in Mexico and we haven’t even got to the drug cartels that run the country today. Oh well, some stories need to be saved for another time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was really looking forward to trying out this recipe and it did not disappoint. I did sub Blueberry Liqueur for Blackberry Liqueur because I was curious about how that would work and it came together very well. The best part of the drink was the smoky tequila aftertaste that can only be enjoyed with an anejo version of the spirit. Given this cocktail and Monday’s 5 out of 5  Sea of Cortez drink, Mexico has the best numbers so far for the Around the World tour!

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January 18 – Crouching Tiger

Counter Culture

I fell asleep during the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, despite the fact I thought I’d enjoy the fantastical martial arts film with a name that sounds like a wicked sex position. This is far from the first popular film (at least according to most of the world) that I have walked away from disliking. Here are the top five movies I refuse to watch, despite their large fan base:

#5: The Hunger Games

Okay, so I only saw the first entry of this series, but it will be hard for Mrs. Sip to get me to return for more. Sorry to drop a spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film, but I absolutely hated how they built up this entire competition for what seemed like forever, only to kill off half the competitors immediately. Then, the fact producers wanted the film to be PG-13 eliminated any chance of serious themes from the book being examined. And so, we slowly wound our way to the inevitable and predictable finish. The Japanese flick Battle Royal is a far better offering in the realm of kids being challenged to kill one another in the name of survival.

#4: Moulin Rouge

Good lord, Mrs. Sip loves her musicals. The Sip Advisor, however, despises any media that is largely based around singing. Tragically, I’ve been dragged to a number of films or forced to watch movies where even the simplest dialogue is crooned. I’m not talking about Disney or other animated offerings, but live action movies where song and dance drives the entire production. Back to Moulin Rouge, I’ve actually been outside of the cabaret club in Paris, France and even without entering, cold chills were running through my system and I suffered flu-like symptoms just being in its presence.

#3: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Middle Earth is simply a place I don’t want to visit… and I definitely don’t want to get stuck there for six movies and 525 hours (running time is purely an estimate of Peter Jackson’s need to have super extended versions of his films). For most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mrs. Sip and I watched the DVD’s and I made sure a clause was put in our contract that we’d halt the movie half way through to take a break playing pool or throwing darts or something else to get me through the second half of the film. The tactic was not very successful with regards to my overall enjoyment.

#2: The Matrix

I just don’t understand these films and the truth of the matter is, I don’t really want to. When I saw the first installment many moons ago, all I could think about was how hungry I was. Thankfully, my McDonald’s feast afterwards wasn’t as disappointing as my cinema choice. Sadly, Mrs. Sip loved that first movie, so when the sequels arrived and we were now dating, I was dragged to midnight openings like I was some nerd who enjoys standing in lines for his entertainment. I only do that at Disneyland, thank you very much!

#1: Star Wars

Mrs. Sip was absolutely shocked when we started dating and I told her I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy. She had grown up on the films and in short order, made me watch all three of the original releases. I’ve never really been a huge fan of science fiction. I think some of the concepts are neat, but in general, the whole space setting isn’t my cup of tea and too much fantasy and made up stuff irritates me. I must say, this was one of the few new experiences we shared that summer that I didn’t enjoy!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crouching Tiger

Crouching Tiger Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Lychee Vodka/Liqueur
  • Splash of Lychee Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Looking back at my list, not only are most of my selections popular movies, they’re god damn franchises, meaning I’m usually forced to sit through multiple movies I’d rather not see. Movies like Twilight and Titanic should have made the list, but I’ve actually been able to avoid watching any of these, so I’ll just leave them off and pretend they don’t exist!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty strong, thanks to the Tequila and my choice to go with Lychee Vodka rather than Lychee Liqueur. I added the splash of Lychee Juice to try and lighten the recipe and that helped in getting the flavour across. A decent shooter, but nothing to go out of your way for.

November 3 – Dragon’s Breath

Mythological Mayhem

I’m not really one for mythological beings, but if forced to pick a few favourites (as I’m being charged to do so here) these are the creatures I would pick:

Dragon

I like some movies based around dragons. How to Train Your Dragon was really good and Pete’s Dragon was a childhood treat. In each of those films, the dragons (Toothless and Elliot, respectively) were of a friendlier, loveable personality. I’m also a fan of the Eddie Murphy-voiced Mushu, but not particularly in the movie Mulan, but for the little dragon’s appearance as co-host of the Disney Animation Building’s ‘How to Draw’ attraction.

dragons-playing

Pegasus

The winged horse that I best remember from Disney’s Hercules cartoon, where it helped our hero Herc battle the forces of James Woods (otherwise known as Hades and evil incarnate). Wrestler Chris Benoit was also known as the Pegasus Kid and Wild Pegasus early in his career, as he toured Japan, Mexico, and Europe. Back to the stallion, one myth states that Pegasus was born from the spurting blood of a decapitated Medusa. Those Greeks sure no how to spin a yarn!

Centaur/Minotaur

Sometimes I wish I was half-man and half-beast… well, even more so than when I’m on a raging bender! What’s the difference between a centaur and a minotaur? A centaur has the body of a beast and head of a man, while a minotaur is of the opposite persuasion. While some may think that it’s hard to pick from one of these designations, I’d choose centaur in a heartbeat. That way I could look as gorgeous as I do now and be able to be a high profile athlete thanks to my tremendous lower body strength.

Unicorn

The national animal of Scotland (which still cracks me up to this day), was purported to have magic qualities. It was thought that the unicorn’s horn could be ground up and used in potions to help cure the ill. During medieval and Renaissance times, the horn of the narwhal was often sold to those looking to harness the unicorn’s powers. Nowadays, the horns of rhinoceroses are sold to those looking to increase their sexual virility. To sum up: horn = good.

unicorns-are-real

Griffin

This creature mixes the head and wings of an eagle with the body of a lion. Geez, can you imagine if lions could fly. Good luck keeping them pent up in a zoo, even if they do sleep away most of the day. I like big cats like lions and such because I think they possess a surliness of sorts. Anyway, getting back on track, the griffin combines an animal I love with an animal I detest, so what does one do in cases like that? I guess you just focus on the positives… go Hufflepuff!

Gremlin

While I prefer gremlins when their still in their Mogwai state and they haven’t been fed after midnight, like the uber cute Gizmo, they do serve an entertaining and often hilarious role even when they’ve crossed over to the dark side. Gremlins are often portrayed negatively, which has upset supporters of their society. They’re usually seen tampering with in-flight airplanes and disrupting other machinery. They should not be trusted, should you ever come across one.

Kraken

I like Kraken Black Spice Rum and shouting “Release the Kraken!” when we’re swimming in Ma and Pa Sip’s pool is a favourite pastime of mine, so the Kraken is a must for the list. The Kraken is usually depicted as an enormous sea monster, similar to a giant squid or octopus. It is capable of bringing down an entire ship and has been blamed for numerous tragedies at sea. These false accusations have caused the Kraken to remain hidden, deep beneath the surface and we may never know of its actual existence.

release-the-kraken

Gargoyle

The Disney cartoon, Gargoyles, is one of those extremely underrated shows that had enjoyable elements for kids and adults alike. Along with the humour of gargoyles adapting to a 20th century New York City (after being awakened from thousands of years trapped in stone) many storylines were dark, complex, and featured adult themes such as betrayal and hatred. Being a self-effacing person, I’ve adopted Moe Szyslak’s line about being a gargoyle, although I’m told I have model cheekbones!

Phoenix

While the first thing I think about when I hear the word Phoenix (aside from the Arizona town, of course) is Jean Grey’s evil character in X-Men (making her so much more interesting that plain old, boring Jean Grey), the Pheonix is another mythological bird that must be vanquished from the world. The only problem is, the Phoenix will continually rise from the ashes of its predecessor and haunt me with loud noises, poop bombs, and dive-bomb attacks.

Werewolf

There’s a great episode (aren’t they all!) of American Dad where Steve thinks he’s been turned into a werewolf, while at the same time, Roger has taken in a wolf to overcome his distress after the death of his two sea monkeys. Don’t just take it from me, go watch the episode. I’ve never really been a huge fan of werewolves and the whole Twilight franchise did nothing to help with that matter. Team “Who Gives a Fuck” was a more accurate take on the series.

Drink #307: Dragon’s Breath

Dragon's Breath Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Caesar Spice
  • 1.5 oz Dragonberry Rum
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Hot Sauce
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

What are your favourite mythological animals? And please don’t send me any replies citing Pokemon or anything else having to do with Japanese culture like Godzilla and Mothra. Seriously, those people come up with the craziest stuff!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I added just the right amount of Hot Sauce to this cocktail. It wasn’t so much that the drink was hard to enjoy and it wasn’t too little that you didn’t get a slight burn at the finish of each sip. I added a Caesar Spice Rim to give each sip that extra kick of heat!

 

May 15 – Atone-Mint

Making Amends

I’ve been a bad, bad boy and the TV court judges – your Judys, Joe Browns, and the like – have sentenced me to atone for my sundry misdeeds. And there are a lot of them:

I am the legendary D.B. Cooper

That’s right, my little sippers. At the ripe age of minus-12, I boarded Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 and made off with $200,000. I promptly blew the money on baby food and diapers for my impending birth more than a decade later. For me, it was all about the thrill. All the fame and notoriety that followed was icing on the cake, although like Batman, I could never soak up the adulation.

db-cooper

I am the cause of power outages

Because of the massive amounts of electricity that flows through my body, I am a surge protector’s worst nightmare. Take all the electricity-based super villians – Electro, Shocker, Livewire – put them together and they still have nothing on me. You can ask Mrs. Sip… every time I touch her she gets shocked. I laugh a boisterous bad guy laugh, she lets out a soft whimper, and that’s the end of our foreplay!

I failed to stop the vampire craze

When I was younger, I took it upon myself to patrol the online message boards of the vast and lawless internet. I was one part Steve McGarrett from Hawaii 5-0 and two parts Carl Winslow from Family Matters. My assignment, which I chose to accept, was to kibosh any positive talk about the return of any “monster” movies. Frankenstein – never stood a chance; Wolfman – pssh, please… I slipped up, though. I figured no one would ever get so obsessed with vampires again. So, yes, I am to blame for all the Twilights, the True Bloods, the Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunters. I cry myself to sleep every night thinking about where I went wrong. Frighteningly, my tears are those creepy vampire blood ones…

I am the reason sneezes sometimes don’t come out

Don’t you hate it when that happens? It’s worse than being stuck in a car after drinking a Big Gulp with no restroom in sight. Well, friends, I’m to blame for your lack of release (that’s what she said). You see, this all began when I was just a young’un. I took great delight in distracting people just as they were about to sneeze and as we all know, that precious moment can pass quickly. As I grew older, I had to be stealthier with these attacks. Not many people will hit a devious kid, but a punk teenager should be throttled if justified. This behavior has continued into my adult years and now I’m able to do it telepathically, having refined my skills to such an nth degree.

sneezing

I am to blame for potato chip price inflation

This one is all about supply and demand. Prices go up because I destroy much of the supply and there’s still a huge demand for the salty, delicious snack. Thankfully, my sponsors (not the AA type, although if there were a Chipoholics anonymous, I might be their first patron) keep me well stocked and in the chippy-filled lifestyle to which I have become accustomed.

Global warming… you can pin that on me, too

My sincerest apologies to the polar ice caps… I’m just so damn hot that I’m warming up this little world of ours and causing melting of massive chunks of ice. The Game of Thrones Northerners would be so pissed with me. They keep saying that “winter is coming”, but not as long as I’m around. I’m trying to reduce my thermal excretions (wow, that sounds so unsexy), particularly for all the animals I’d be affecting. I love penguins, polar bears, and such and will do everything in my power to see that they are safe and comfortable.

Drink #135: Atone-Mint

May 15 (1)

  • Muddle Mint, Strawberries and Lemon Wedges
  • 1.5 oz Blueberry Vodka (I used Smirnoff)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda

What I really need to apologize for is for being so awesome. Not only can the club not handle me, but most of the world just can’t compete at my level. I leave it all on the floor, day-in, day-out.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was really enjoyable. The Blueberry Vodka was a nice twist in a Mojito-style cocktail and having so much muddled goodness floating around gave the beverage a wicked presentation. This will be a wonderful summer selection and I can’t wait for the sun to come back and party for a while!

March 9 – Breakfast of Champions

Slogan-O’s

Cereal and advertising slogans go hand-in-hand. All of us remember them from our childhood, when breakfast mascots seemed to rule the world. Today, many of these jingles and mascots have gone the way of the dodo, so let’s give them one more chance in the sun. Thanks for the memories!

“The cereal shot from guns” – Quaker Puffed Rice

The officially-licensed breakfast of the NRA. Why not have a bowl, thus justifying the need for firearms in every home.

“Brings out the tiger in you, in you!” – Frosted Flakes

So does hockey, naked women, Texas hold’em poker (because I always lose the allowance Mrs. Sip provides me), go-kart racing, and afternoon naps! Tony the Tiger, I am not, however.

Frosted Flakes

“Stays crunchy, even in milk!” – Cap’n Crunch

This is the cereal equivalent to McDonald’s food not decomposing months after being served…

“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp.” – Sugar Crisp

Yeah, actually I can. I never liked Sugar Crisp. It just tasted funny to me. Sugar Bear was pretty cool, though. He seemed like a total junkie, always needing his fix!

“A is for Apple. J is for Jacks.” – Apple Jacks

Thanks for teaching me how to spell Monsieur Apple Jacks (sounds like it could be a French name, although I guess it would be Apple Jacques)… especially when cereals like Quisp have a catchphrase like “Quisp for Quazy energy.” At least one company isn’t dropping the education ball.

“Snap! Crackle! Pop!” – Rice Krispies

It’s like the cereal is talking to me, man. Seriously, Rice Krispies must be responsible for a number of mental patient and drug-induced freakouts.

rice_krispies_crazy_cat

“Follow my nose. It always knows.” – Froot Loops

Unfortunately, Toucan Sam isn’t the same tracking bird he once was. A combination of old age and a terrible cocaine addiction have left the poor guy without the ability to sniff out Froot Loops. His nephews (Puey, Susey and Louis – what a rip-off of Huey, Dewey and Louie) have taken over in his absence, but as with most other things, this new generation of cereal hunters just don’t have the drive, passion or respect to live up to Sam’s legacy.

“I’m coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs!” – Cocoa Puffs

Sonny Cuckoo is a fiend for Cocoa Puffs. He is the high-strung opposite of Sugar Bear’s laidback stoner ways. The kind of bird that commits violent crimes to procure the money he needs for his habit.

“They’re Magically Delicious!” & “They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms!” – Lucky Charms

Pissing-off Irish and leprechaun-looking people for years, the fine folks at Lucky Charms are now being forced to pay reparations to the Emerald Isle; its angry, drunken citizens; and the United Union of Leprechauns. These are people you really don’t want to mess with.

“Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” – Trix

You know the Trix Rabbit actually got to eat the cereal once. There was a write-in vote cast (one that I paid more attention to than any government election I’ve ever had to suffer through) that saw kids get to choose whether or not the “Silly Rabbit” would finally get his hands on the fruity breakfast. He won the vote, restoring my faith that all kids aren’t dicks and got to eat one bowl of Trix before going back to being a perennial loser.

“Gotta have my pops!” – Corn Pops

To a generation of obese kids today(most likely thanks to foods just like Corn Pops), this slogan just means they want another Diet Coke (worse for you than normal Coke, of course). I can’t help but notice Corn Pop’s grammar sucks, too… what do you expect when all kids can do nowadays is text short-form words and barely have the attention span to get through an episode of some Japanimation garbage on their tablet.

“The Breakfast of Champions” – Wheaties

This slogan will remain false until my picture is plastered on the box, as I am a reigning four-time liquor champion of the world. Our sport just isn’t given the respect it deserves.

“I vant to eat your cereal!” – Count Chocula

How in the world is Count Chocula still more of a badass than those losers from Twilight?

Vampires

“It tastes like a chocolate milkshake, only crunchy!” – Cocoa Krispies

What’s wrong with a crunchy chocolate shake, I ask? Are you saying that I don’t make good milkshakes just because they’re a little crunchy? Well, my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, so suck it! And how come Snap, Crackle and Pop weren’t African-American for these Cocoa Krispies ads?

“They’re A-B-C-Delicious.” – Alpha-Bits

It was Alpha-Bits that first stoked the fires for me to become a writer. A very young Sip Advisor used to take his bowl of cereal and write prize-winning blogs for Mama and Papa Sip. I was paid in chocolate chip cookies… that and stock options.

“We eat what we like.” – Apple Jacks

Oh man, this could get dirty. You know what, I’m going to take the high road and let sleeping dogs lie. The Sip Advisor is growing up!

“How do they cram in all that graham?” – Golden Grahams

It’s simple arithmetic: you calculate the square root of the graham, divided by the hypotenuse of the golden and then you know how much you can cram. Don’t need a Nobel Prize in Mathematics to figure that out.

Drink #68: Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions Shot

I finally got to try the Loopy (Froot Loops-flavoured) Vodka, thanks to Cousin Sip bringing it around to The Sip Advisor employee retreat. Next year’s team building event will be for everyone to stay home and spend the weekend in their pajamas. I’m the best boss in the world!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
My only regret with this shot is that the Froot Loops, when crushed, lose their wonderful colour and kind of become a normal brownish cereal colour. Still, the whole appearance looks great and the shooter is delicious.